Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is a proud father. His son Avijit, who contested on a Congress ticket from Nalhati, has won handsomely.
Avijit beat his nearest rival Dipak Chatterjee of the Forward Bloc by 15,160 votes. Politically, this victory means a lot to Pranab Mukherjee. In 1980, Mukherjee had lost to CPI(M) candidate Saradish Roy from Bolpur LS seat in Birbhum, his home district.
When Avijit’s name was proposed for the Nalhati assembly seat, a small town in Birbhum, it became a prestige fight for the party. “This seat was very important to us. Pranabda’s son was in the fray. A wrong move would have dented Avijit’s political carrier and image. We wanted a massive victory for him. We are happy that people of Nalhati supported us,” a district Congress leader said.
“It’s a day of pride. We are really happy. We wanted Pranabda’s son to contest from Nalhati. We had told him so during Durga Puja last year. He agreed to our request. From that day, it was our aim to make Avijit win. We have achieved our purpose,” Sayed Jimmi, Congress district general secretary, said.
Nalhati was not such a ‘good field’ for Congress. In the last assembly elections, Forward Bloc candidate Dipak Chatterjee defeated Congress candidate Abdul Wali Mollah by more than 10,000 votes. While Chatterjee managed 58,787 votes, Mollah got 48,620. But in last parliament election, the result was good considering party interests. Congress-backed Trinamool Congress candidate from Birbhum, Satabdi Roy, defeated CPI(M) candidate and former Birbhum zilla parishad sabhadipati Brojo Mukherjee by almost 11,000 votes.
“We had never seen Pranabda like this before. It seemed as if that he was the candidate,” Tapan Saha, a senior INTUC leader of the district, said.
Besides campaigning for his son, Mukherjee had to address various other issues to ensure his son’s victory."I have assured the people of Nalhati that lots of development projects will be initiated if they elect me. As my father has developed his parliament seat Jangipur, such development will be here," Avijit had earlier said.
Besides his father, Avijit’s campaign trail had seen a lot of big names. They were Congress MP Mausam Noor, Trinamool MP Tapas Pal, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and above all UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
After his victory, Avijit said he wants to dedicate his victory to the people of Nalhati. “The win was expected. But I couldn’t hazard a guess what the victory margin would be. I thought the winning margin would be similar to Satabdi Roy. But at the end, it was much more than that. I thank all who voted for me,” he said.
“This victory will strengthen the hand of Mamata Banerjee to build a new Bengal. I’m happy that I am part of this historic event,” he added.